Library Card

Guess what I did after work today?

I got myself one of these babies:

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My very own library card. 😀

As a kid and high school student, I loved going to the library. My mom is basically a library super-fan, and would take me and my sister to our local library to browse books, magazines, DVDs and CDs for hours. We loved it!

I walked to the Orlando Public Library and within five minutes of filling out a form and handing over my driver’s license, I had a library card!

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I’ve put off getting a library card for so long because parking downtown to actually go to the library is a huge pain. When one of my colleagues told me that our library actually delivers books to your home for free, I was singin’ a different tune. You can select books, DVDs or CDs through the library’s catalog system and ask them to deliver them to your doorstep. How cool is that!?

Plus, I work within walking distance of the library, so I can easily return anything we check out after work or during my lunch break.

I’m also excited to check out some of the free classes offered at the library. I sure could use some extra help when it comes to website design and html code. That stuff is way over my head and as a blogger, it would be very beneficial to gain some knowledge about the “behind the scenes” stuff.

With my spiffy library card in tow, I headed home to get crackin’ on dinner.

Dinner

Ryan and I have plans to head to St. Pete this weekend for some wedding-related appointments, so we had to use up the fresh veggies we had waiting in our fridge.

I prepared a veggie plate to enjoy along with a bowl of spaghetti, which did the trick!

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My veggies included roasted Brussels sprouts and parsnip fries, served with some ketchup for dippin’.

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The veggies were pretty filling and coupled with a big bowl of pasta, I felt very satisfied after eatin’ this meal!

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Of course Parmesan cheese made an appearance in the pasta bowl.

As Ryan and I headed into the kitchen to clean our dishes, we caught Sadie in the middle of some Brussel sprout thievery.

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What a little sneak!

St. Lucia, Here We Come!

Ryan and I are off to book our flights to St. Lucia for our honeymoon! Now that our hotel reservations are all set, we gotta book transportation to actually get to the island… 😉

Good news: Tomorrow is Friday!!!

Healthy Food On Hand

Since Ryan and I didn’t arrive back in Orlando until around 8 p.m. last night, we didn’t have the chance to get to the grocery store to stock up on food for the week.

Fortunately I assembled a pretty decent lunch using food we had around the apartment.

Noodle Bowl!

Today’s meal featured Carba Nada egg fettuccine pasta with Barilla marinara sauce, steamed broccoli and Parmesan cheese.

Carba Nada

Barilla!

Bowl o' Goodness

For not having a lot of food on hand, this lunch was pretty great!

Healthy Food On Hand

I try to have the makings for a healthy meal on hand at all times, and find that keeping a pantry or freezer stocked with certain items makes this a lot easier. In our pantry you will almost always find:

  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Soup
  • Peanut butter
  • Protein powder

Our freezer will almost always be stocked with the following items:

  • Veggies (edamame, corn, broccoli, etc.)
  • Fruit (strawberries, bananas)
  • Whole wheat bread (sandwich thins, Alternative Bagels) Note: I freeze bread all the time because it takes me a while to get through a whole loaf of bread or package of bagels.
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon burgers
  • Veggie burgers

Even though I may complain about having no food sometimes, I always seem to have something I can conjure up into a healthy meal.

Question of the Afternoon

What healthy foods can almost always be found in your pantry or freezer?

Big Spaghetti Dinner

Big spaghetti dinners were one of my favorite meals growing up.

I would sit in my big, wooden chair at the dinner table as my mom placed a pot of steaming noodles on a hot plate in front of me. The steam from the noodles would moisten my face with a warm heat and my stomach would growl in anticipation. Next to me would be a bread basket filled with buttery garlic bread for easy access.

My mom would make this dinner for me the night before I had a cross country meet in junior high.

I would get so nervous before a meet even though I was not even kind of good and the team never really depended on me. I hated the competitive nature of meets and would nearly make myself sick with nerves. A big spaghetti dinner was one of the things that calmed me down and made me relax.

Though tonight’s dinner wasn’t quite as fantastic as the spaghetti dinners I  enjoyed growing up, it still was quite tasty.

I prepare our pasta feast using Barilla thin spaghetti.

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While the noodles bubbled away in a big pot of boiling water, I chopped up steamed broccoli florets to toss on top of the cooked pasta.

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I also popped open a can of clams to add a little protein and salty flavor to the mix.

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Before digging in, I topped the spaghetti, broccoli and clams with marinara sauce.

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Even though I’m not the teeniest bit Italian, I sure do like eating like I am! 😀

Question of the Evening

  • What is a meal that always makes you feel relaxed and calm?

What I’ve Been Waiting For

The minute my butt hit the lounge chair by the pool this afternoon, I proclaimed, “This is what I’ve been waiting for all week.”

Pool Time!

There’s something about kicking back by the pool with a magazine (or five) that just relaxes me. I love taking time to simply do nothing and just be. It feels pretty good. 🙂

Pool Buddies

It was really hot outside and Ryan and I both took several dips in the pool to cool off. Splish, splash!

After soakin’ up some sun, we came home to scoop up Sadie to head out to get her some dog food.

On the way home we made a little detour to McDonald’s to pick up a medium strawberry shake to share. I didn’t have my camera with me, so it went unphotographed, but it was oh-so-tasty.

Lunch

Before splitting the strawberry shake with Ryan, I assumed I’d be making myself a large smoothie for lunch. After the shake, however, I knew a smoothie wouldn’t taste quite as tasty. For me, a smoothie just doesn’t compare to a rich, indulgent milkshake.

Instead I got to work making a big bowl of basil-flavored pasta with steamed cauliflower and fresh spinach.

I topped the noodles and veggies with Ragu marinara meat sauce and Parmesan cheese, stirred it all up and dug in.

Noodles on a Bed of Veggies

Lunch!

Stirred Up

It is now time for a much-needed shower.

Nine-mile run + Pool time = One gross girl 

I gotta get pretty for date night tonight! Ryan and I have plans to go to my faaavorite restaurant for dinner. 🙂

I Love the ’90s

I always prep my lunch the day before. If I don’t assemble it completely, I at least package up what I need and organize it in the fridge so it’s easily accessible in the morning.

I usually pack my lunch as I make dinner. It’s efficient and also distracts me with an activity while dinner is cooking, which helps me avoid mindless snacking.

Last night, I prepped today’s noodle bowl which contained:

  • Carba Nada pasta
  • Ragu meat marinara sauce
  • Steamed fresh broccoli

Noodles + Sauce

Monday's Lunch

The entire bowl came together in less than 10 minutes. Fast and tasty! Perfect-o.

I Love the ’90s

I am a huge fan of music from the ’90s.

Maybe it’s because ’90s jams take me back to fun memories from childhood and high school or maybe it’s because the music is just so darn catchy. Either way, I can’t help but feel a little excited every time I hear a ’90s classic come on the radio.

This weekend Ryan’s mom brought out a big box of Ryan’s old CDs. I think I fell in love with him all over again when I saw him pull out CDs like LaBouche, Alanis Morissette (he denies ever liking this CD), Will Smith, No Doubt, Sister Hazel, Sisqo (I didn’t think anyone actually bought this CD…), 2Pac, TLC, Blackstreet, and more.

My Girl, Alanis

I immediately took a handful of his old CDs and uploaded a billion songs onto my iPod.

Just in case any of you share my intense love for ’90s music, I thought I’d share my latest playlist, comprised completely of ’90s classics:

Of Possible Interest:

Question of the Afternoon

What were some of your favorite ’90s bands or ’90s songs?

Don’t be ashamed to share your intense love for the Backstreet Boys… This is a judgment-free zone (and I’m looking for more ideas of ’90s songs to download 😉 ).

If at First You Do Succeed, Don’t Try Again

Lesson learned: If at first you do succeed, don’t try again. (Can you guess the results of today’s race?) 😉

After last year’s Doggie Derby victory, we headed out to compete in today’s event with full faith in our little girl.

People and their dogs came out in droves!

Doggie Derby Crowd

We met up with some friends and cheered on adorable dogs of all different breeds.

Ryan & Sadie, Pat & Kaluha

Sadie competed in the 6th heat of the middleweight dogs.

Using our winning strategy from last year, Ryan held onto Sadie at the start line while I called to her from the finish line.

Our strategy backfired a bit because this year the guy at the starting line took a while to blow the horn to start the race. Sadie was freaking out and jumping back at Ryan to let her go when the horn finally went off. She was so concentrated on trying to make Ryan release her so she could run to me, that she wasn’t looking forward when the race started. Needless to say, our little Sadie got her little butt kicked in round one!

Don’t worry though, Sadie was still as happy as ever after her defeat. 😀

We hung out at the Doggie Derby for a bit longer before taking Sadie to the dog park to hang out with the other “non-winning” dogs. 

On Our Way to the Park

Walkin' the Trails

Still as Happy as Ever

It is h-o-t outside today!

Lunch

We were quite sweaty by the time we left and headed home to fill our bellies.

Pasta sounded like the perfect lunch!

Barilla Plus Pasta

Ryan and I both really liked the Barilla Plus thin spaghetti. (One serving has a whopping 10 grams of protein!)

We topped our pasta with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, marinara and Parmesan cheese.

Veggies + Pasta + Marinara + Parmesan

Saturday Afternoon Lunch

After lunch we busted out the lawn chairs and layed out in the sun while reading our respective books for 90 minutes or so. I was gettin’ HOT and had to come in to update the ol’ blog!

Tonight

I’m getting excited for tonight! We have plans to see Straight No Chaser, a fantastic a cappella group, in concert at the Hard Rock Live at  8 p.m. Should be a blast!

What was the first concert you went to?

What to Choose…

This just in: Roasted eggplant in pasta is ah-maze-ing!

I love veggies that pick up the flavors of whatever you throw at them.

The roasted eggplant in my lunchtime noodle bowl really meshed with the cheesy flavors of the Parmesan and Laughing Cow light original Swiss cheese.

Eggplant + Spinach + Noodles + Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

It was a cheesy, creamy noodle bowl with the added nutritional punch of eggplant and steamed spinach.

Lunch

I thought I might miss my beloved marinara sauce when I was throwing all the ingredients together, but the two cheeses were strong and definitely didn’t make me miss my favorite red sauce. I will surely be making this noodle bowl again in the future!

Snack Time

Snack time today was worthy of a mention.

Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar

Blueberry + Oats

The blueberry bliss Luna bar arrived in the goodie bag from Janetha yesterday and I knew it would make the perfect snack around 10:30 this morning.

Blueberry Bliss

The taste actually reminded me a lot of blueberry Nutri-Grain bars, but the texture was different. It was yummy!

Dinner Plans

Tonight I am meeting up with some of my girlfriends at Season’s 52, my favorite restaurant on the planet!

We’re celebrating my birthday since I haven’t seen any of them since I turned the big 2-5.

If it’s available online, I like to check out a restaurant’s menu ahead of time and have a few yummy dishes in mind before I arrive for a meal.

Several dishes are currently calling to me…

Of the following entrees, which would you choose?

  1. Caramelized Sea Scallops grilled and served with roasted asparagus and sundried tomato pearl pasta
  2. Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout with parsley new potatoes, fresh roasted vegetables and broiled lemon
  3. Spring Market Vegetable Plate with cranberry almond tabbouleh, fennel, plum tomatoes and grilled tofu
  4. Garlic Chicken Flatbread with balsamic red onions, roasted red peppers and Mozzarella cheese

I’m leaning toward the scallops at the moment…